“It’s not pressure, it’s excitement.” we kept telling ourselves, desperately trying to calm our nerves.7 years we’ve spent doing this, this business of reviewing cars and motorcycles for a living. But every once in a while a product comes by and manages to send nervous tingles coursing through our bodies. Face to face with this iconic machine, that familiar feeling came coursing back.

By definition, an icon is a representative symbol of a culture or movement; perhaps one that is even considered worthy of admiration or respect. Elvis Presley is an icon of rock and roll, Muhammad Ali, the face of boxing. So, in that retrospect, you’d be quiet right in saying that the Ford Mustang is the cultural icon of the auto-world.

As one of the few cars to be recognized even by non-car enthusiasts around the world, the Mustang has been the metal metaphor for America. First produced in 1964 the Mustang has triumphed as a symbol of brazen horsepower recited through screeching tires and blisteringly fast standing miles. Pop culture and media have further perpetuated this reputation for the legendary car.

Had we been talking about the Mustang in this manner only a couple of months earlier, this would all have been shelved as guff-gaff between fellow car enthusiasts. However, Go Ford Nepal has put a very serious and surprising twist to this whole situation by rolling the pony car into the streets of Kathmandu.

Believe it or not, the Mustang GT is here in Nepal; brandishing the coveted pony emblem and a menacing intent to conquer the roads of Nepal. We are ready to bow down to our new V8 overlords. But first, it’s time to get our hands dirty with this beast.

EXTERIOR

One of the many things that the Ford Mustang has been popular for are its looks. It has enticed car lovers for 50 years and this 2017 Ford Mustang GT, which we have on review, shows why. The blatant display of muscle and brawn by the Mustang’s aesthetics is Ford’s territorial growl that firmly establishes its presence.

Wearing the triple yellow tricoat, the Ford Mustang GT scores massive points on the head-turnometer. Confront the Mustang head-on and a pair of aggressive headlights with signature LED DRLs stares you down. The chrome pony, an emblem that successfully branded the American ‘muscle car’ and ‘pony car’ category, sits smack dab in the middle of the massive grille.

Furthering the muscular persona are the defined and pronounced bodylines that run through the absolutely massive bonnet and body panels. The raked roofline slopes down to the rear that has the recognized tri-bar LED rear lights flanking the ‘GT’ moniker embellished in chrome. Other things worth noting in the rear are the dual exhausts and diffusers.

Low slung and running on black alloys, the Ford Mustang GT is a beautifully sporty and menacing sight on the roads of Kathmandu. As of now, there is no other vehicle running on four wheels that will be able to steal the thunder from the Ford Mustang GT.

MORE EXTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS

INTERIOR

The interior is one of the finest you’ll find in the country, maybe only surpassed by the Germans. Without feeling too cluttered, the interior features have bold, chunky lines throughout the cabin. There is a retro 60’s feel to the interiors that is reflected mainly via the sizeable three-spoke steering with a circular horn in the middle. The flat dashboard with circular vents and a huge instrument cluster with analogue dials add to the classic feel of the Mustang.

The center console has a touchscreen infotainment system with a fantastic user interface with Apple Car Play and Android Auto connectivity that syncs your Smartphone seamlessly. Aircraft-inspired gauges and switches are nice touches to the excitement of the experience. Ford says that aviation did influence the styling of the interiors. And just to bring the point home, the speedo reads ‘ground speed’. Some of the other key features include Pony projection puddle lamps, rain sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, power adjustable front seats, ambient lighting, etc.

Getting in and out of the Mustang isn’t difficult, even if you are a large bloke. Once inside you’ll be able to find a comfortable position. This is a very good thing because chances are, once you get the V8 engine running, you will not want to get out any time soon.

Rear seats, on the other hand, are strictly meant for children. Adults will have to really cram in and suffer throughout the drive. Unless you’re next in line to drive, you might not have as fun of an experience. If you were wondering about the safety, it scores high marks on this respect too.

Every Mustang GT comes standard with frontal, side, overhead and knee airbags. It also comes with a backup camera and post collision alert system as standard kit. In a vehicle that has every potential of scaring the driver behind the wheels, the safety features will be of much solace.

PERFORMANCE

Now, coming to the meat of the matter. As popular and appealing as the aesthetics are, the real appeal of the Mustang GT lies under the bonnet. As promised by the badge on the side panel, a massive 5.0 Liter V8 is at the heart of the Mustang. This force of human engineering is capable of sending 435 maniacal horses galloping to the rear wheel. Torque figures come to a healthy 542 Nm. What these stats mean is that you will be able to crunch crazy numbers on the speedometer and watch the kilometers fly by. Here is how the Mustang experience generally goes. The moment you shift into gear, via the satisfying 6 speed manual gearbox, you transcend into a totally different mindset.

You have a significantly heightened sense of sight; your reflexes are more acute. The nervous energy that you had up till this point will change into focused concentration the moment you release the clutch and sprint into momentum. Flex the long travel accelerator and you can feel every one of the horses pulling the car forward with vigor. Stamp down and the car squats into its hindquarters and propels forward with cruel intentions.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have the liberty of really hitting the corners with the Mustang GT, we doubt anyone but the owner has the luxury (and right) of doing so. However, with the all-independent suspension setup that the Mustang gets, we can vouch for its splendid handling capabilities.Regardless, the straights are where this iconic muscle car truly shines. Notorious for its ability to demolish standing miles, there is no car in the country that even comes close to the Ford Mustang GT. Accompanied by the bellows of the 5.0-liter V8, the driving experience you get from the Mustang is difficult to replicate. You get four selectable driving modes – Normal, Sport+, Track and Snow/Wet. In Sport+, the engine is allowed to rev that little bit more and feels more responsive too.

Braking is handled by discs all around, which do a great job of bringing the car to a halt. There is plenty of bite that instigates enough confidence in the driver.

VERDICT

You don’t buy the Mustang for its everyday usability or mileage or the ground clearance; you buy it because of its long-standing iconic stature. You buy it because you’ve grown up dreaming about one day owning a Mustang. You buy it because it is a Mustang

There is little point in beating around the bush here; the Ford Mustang GT blew our minds, as it rightly should. To have this iconic automobile in Nepal was exciting, to be able to test drive it was surreal. It lived up to every bit of the expectation and hype. Whether it is in terms of its presence or the experience of driving it, the Ford Mustang GT knocks it out of the park.

They say there is a feeling you get from a Mustang that you don’t get from any other car, and we’d have to agree.Arguing about the practicality of it is pointless. You don’t buy the Mustang for its everyday usability or mileage or the ground clearance; you buy it because of its long-standing iconic stature. You buy it because you’ve grown up dreaming about one day owning a Mustang. You buy it because it is a Mustang. Oh, and because it is priced at Rs. 1.69 crores, you buy the Mustang because (and only if ) you can.